How to cope with stress at Christmas

Sponsored by NIVEA Australia

It’s December. There is no longer any hiding from Christmas and all the silliness that goes with it.

I’m guessing that most of you are thick in the middle of the silliness right now.

If you’ve got kids, school has either finished or you’re spending every second evening at end-of-year concerts.

If you do paid work as well, then there’s a fair chance you’re working your proverbial butt off right now because everything has to be done BY CHRISTMAS.

And hands up who’s getting a gazillion messages, texts and emails from people you haven’t seen all year who simply just have to catch up BEFORE CHRISTMAS?

Yes. Welcome to the mother of all Western world calendar deadlines.

Christmas is a busy time and it can get stressful for a lot of people for a whole lot of reasons.

I’m no stress-less guru but I am going to share some ways about how to cope with stress at Christmas.

These are a combination of things that I do during the festive season but also things I TRY to do.

We’re all human and sometimes just the act of trying to take a chilled approach to the busy-ness will make it feel less stressful.

I’ve got some tips below but before I share them, let me share with you my Secret Stress Weapon.

Secret stress weapon

I have a secret weapon when it comes to protecting against one of the visible signs of stress. And I have everyone (except the youngest) on board with this too.

Remember when I introduced you to the then new deodorant from NIVEA - NIVEA Stress Protect anti-perspirant deodorant- back in April?

NIVEA Stress Protect Deodorant

I’ve been buying it and we’ve all been using it ever since. Because it works.

The unique antibacterial formula of active ingredients and a zinc complex provides extra protection in stressful situations to help you keep your stress sweating under control. In addition, the formula also includes rich and nutritious avocado oil to care for the delicate underarm skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth.

It was like NIVEA was in my head, really understanding what I need – even when I didn’t know I did.

Judging from how much less I now sweat, it’s clear I am primarily an emotional sweater (except when exercising or sitting in a room without air-con on a hot, humid day … then I’m a thermal sweater, yes I am). With this deodorant it’s rare that there is any wetness under my arm pits.

The upside has been less staining of clothes from sweat and a sense of always feeling fresh.

I mostly use the aerosol but always have the roll-on in my handbag. Ditto with Mr SY and the teenagers.

This Christmas will be no exception.

I will keep cool by implementing all the stress-less tips below and my daily NIVEA Stress Protect application will see me through any fighting over the last prawn or devastating discovery that no-one has chilled down the Champagne.

How to cope with stress at Christmas

9 tips for a stress-less Christmas

1. Say NO. It’s ok to not accept every invitation that comes your way. In fact, once you practise saying no a few times, it really does feel SO good. This doesn’t mean being a hermit during the festive season – it means not overloading your schedule so much that you just can’t breathe.

2. Accept that when families come together it’s not necessarily going to be perfect. Add in a few too many rum balls and bad bon bon jokes and you have the makings of a potentially explosive situation. Do your part to keep things light and fun by not stirring the pot and pressing any known emotional buttons. Be grateful that you have family to spend the festive season with.

How to cope with stress at Christmas

3. Do keep to a budget. I’m a shocker at this. It’s one of the things that I try and improve on every year. Gift buying, decorations, food and drink purchasing … it can all add up to a ridiculous amount of money being spent on one day. I like a treat as much as the next person but if you go overboard in December, the January budgetary hangover is never pleasant.

4. Take time out. If your calendar looks anything like mine, you’re probably having a good old laugh at me right now but I’m deadly serious. Now is not the time to drop your regular exercise routine or to not allow yourself a couple of hours on a Saturday or Sunday reading your favourite magazine or a new book. In all the madness, you need to find that time for yourself. Even if it’s locking the door and spending five minutes in the shower without any interruptions from partners or little people.

How to cope with stress at Christmas

5. Don’t leave everything until the last minute. This is an easy one for anyone who got their stuff sorted back in October. Not so good for those of us who have birthdays and other celebrations right up until December. If you haven’t started organising food, drink and gift buying, do it now. Start with a list and break that list down into manageable daily chunks that you can fit in around your work and family obligations.

6. Shop online. Most days, the only time I have to think about prepping for Christmas is when on the sofa at night with my iPad or laptop. It’s also my most productive time. I can get a Christmas grocery order sorted, my festive season alcohol supply ordered so I just have to pick it up and I can do some gift shopping. No crowds. No carpark madness. Winning.

7. Shop locally. So often, the stress of Christmas can be about finding the perfect gift for those on your gift list (you wrote a list, right?). I get SO much joy out of gift buying and often that’s because I get to fossick and find the unusual and different at my local shops.

How to cope with stress at Christmas

8. Wrap as you go. When you leave the job of Christmas wrapping until Christmas Eve, it’s no fun at all. Instead, try and wrap as the gifts arrive at your home.

9. Be grateful every day. Christmas is not always a joyous occasion for all people. For many – myself included – it marks another occasion where loved ones are not there to share it with you. Be thankful for those who are there with you and that you have food to put on the table. It’s the little things really.

Coordinated by The Remarkables Group

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  • Debbie O’Donnell

    Stay out of arguements don’t get involved.

  • SJ Goesch

    My hot tip (along with all above) is to delegate. I ditched the “hot” traditional Christmas lunch, and have gone with a cold buffet. I ask (delegate) salads to relatives (who love to help), so that’s the menu done and dusted. Everyone brings their sense of humour…. and we follow OUR house fules for backyard cricket. (goeschs@bigpond.com) Ed for email

  • Mellie Jane

    one word DELIGATE!

  • Suzie Elo

    Everybody is in the same boat as you on Christmas Day, make sure you have your sense of humour turned ON all day and you will be able to laugh things off.

  • Lizzy Bee

    We spread the Christmas celebrations over three days so there’s no pressure to run from house to house visiting all the family on Christmas Day. It makes it easier to sit down for a relaxing meal knowing you don’t have to get straight back into the car.

  • Karina Wong

    Have Christmas at the parents – they love it and theres no cooking and cleaning stress before hand, especially if you can’t cook well!

  • Janice Burton

    Together with family, I make up the menu in November. I ensure that everyone has a copy and that everyone has a job to do. That leaves me with lots of time to enjoy the company of my family and watch the little ones having a wonderful time.

  • Jacky Burkett

    Just remember Christmas is a time to be together enjoying food and good company not for the hostess to spend the entire festive season in the kitchen so keep meals simple, go for recipes you’ve used before and not everything has to be home made.

  • Jasmine Eastwood

    Buy as much as you can in advance…well in advance. presents, decorations, etc. So many people get stressed out when things sell out of wondering if something will arrive on time, save that stress and plan in advance!!

  • Olivia

    Ignore it?! No, I’m joking! Although having said that it’s crept up on me rather quickly! My poker hot ‘tip’, embrace your technology – get your iPhone cranking, plan and add your ‘next move’ to your diary and breathe… it’s Christmas! It’s meant to be fun, fun, fun!!

  • viviennedobin

    My hot tip for Xmas is probably harder to practice than it sounds but it is to just take a deep breath and stay calm and things will happen a look quicker and things will go more smoothly and you will enjoy
    viviennedobin@netscape.net

  • jojo

    Lists Lists Lists! With 4 kids I need to have a list for everything from gifts to the old to do for school parties etc to food to dates and so on!

  • marypreston

    Don’t expect that your preparations will be as picture perfect as in the glossy magazines. A wonky rum ball is still a rum ball. Enjoy it!!

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  • Rebecca

    If shopping online, order in November if you can so you’re not stressing out waiting on the mail delivery … and wondering if you’re going to end up in the 48hr manic shopping crowd as the items you ordered didn’t end up arriving in time!!!

  • Rebecca

    If shopping online, order in November if you can so you’re not stressing out waiting on the mail delivery … and wondering if you’re going to end up in the 48hr manic shopping crowd as the items you ordered didn’t end up arriving in time!!!

  • kathy clark

    Not to go anywhere as everytime my very Adult daughters get together they fight

  • http://mrsbcshouseofchaos.blogspot.com.au/ Lisa Barton-Collins

    I like to think I am organised but in actual fact I have many, many things on my to do list right up to the last minute. (Shh, don’t tell anyone) My best tip to minimize stress at Christmas is to accept it for what it is. Sounds a bit flaky but it’s more zen that hippy, I promise. The shops are crowded, so there is no point in stressing about it. Parking will be difficult, so just accept it and park further away. The family will try and push your buttons on the big day, so count to 10 and breathe: don’t engage. Pick the most important things on your list and get moving on them; let the rest of the silly season fall away because it is what it is, and stressing about it won’t change it.

  • Tess

    My family’s tip for reducing Christmas Day stress:
    Step 1: Grandma takes the kids Christmas Eve
    Step 2: I cook, clean, wrap presents, set the table, and do as much preparation as I possibly can for the BIG day!
    Step 3: Grandma returns the kids just before bedtime.
    Step 4: I stress-less Christmas morning and time to enjoy the magic of Christmas with the family!

  • jayla1987

    Just breathe its only once a year and you get to argue with relatives you haven’t seen in awhile

  • Karly

    Lists. I have so many lists on the go the pile is thicker than some books I’ve read. Who’s coming on the day, what we’re eating, who’s being given what, what needs to be done in the days leading up to the 25th, and so on and so one.

  • soniaelsheikh

    I like to have Chamomile tea to help me stay calm during the silly season :)

  • sarah

    Don’t rush, don’t engage in unnecessary tasks, if you need extra time just go ahead and ask. Don’t stay up till four am. making mince pies for a treat, if this is something you and your friends don’t eat. My mother did this, she was an amazing cook, with a full hot meal, with stuffings and vegies, an English Christmas done by the book. Here it’s much hotter, we need to relax and take things as they come, we have now made a pact and everything is more easily done. Christmas at my house with salads, cold buffet and sweets, not forgetting to set aside the morning for my daughter’s birthday treats. Life is hectic, this is our time to appreciate what we have, so we need to stop and take some minutes to enjoy being with the people who we love

  • Michelle

    Get someone else to do the cooking and cleaning:)

  • Lara Daebritz

    A great and worthwhile post Nikki, as I always find myself getting more and more stressed as every December day passes. Here’s my tip:

    My tip (twas my Mum who said it!)
    “Plan your spending, avoid using credit!”
    Cos post-Chistmas, after you’ve tidied the mess;
    Your credit card bill shouldn’t deliver more stress!

    daebritzlara@hotmail.com

  • Lara Daebritz

    A great and worthwhile post Nikki, as I always find myself getting more and more stressed as every December day passes. Here’s my tip:

    My tip (twas my Mum who said it!)
    “Plan your spending, avoid using credit!”
    Cos post-Chistmas, after you’ve tidied the mess;
    Your credit card bill shouldn’t deliver more stress!

    daebritzlara@hotmail.com

  • shar31

    Try not to go overboard keep things simple and never try a new recipe for 1ist time today

  • stressless

    Relax, smile, keep some of your favourite music playing. plan to do as much as you can right up to the day before…..then simply enjoy….don’t expect perfection…nobody else will either!

  • Poopsie

    Delegate – when someone offers to bring/cook/buy/supply something – say YES!!! Otherwise the pressure to do it all yourself can mount up and overload even the most organised person. And the subsequent overload explosion may not be pleasant. For anyone within a 200m radius. Just saying.

  • Ange

    My hot tip for a stress-free Christmas is to just be organised. I keep an eye out for special gifts for loved ones throughout the year and put them away for Christmas time. This saves the last minute stressful Christmas gift shopping!

  • johanna rees

    Be organised. Make lists and tick tasks off when completed. And just remember that it is only one day of the year. The world won’t fall apart if things don’t go to plan. Just enjoy the day and have fun, after all , it’s all about appreciating what you have, not what you don’t.

  • Antoinette

    My hot tip is bikram yoga! 1 class is one and a half hours which is one and a half hours of “you time” . This is much needed during the silly season. It also keeps you centred, focused and de stressed!

  • Maxabella

    I’ve been saying no since November and it’s worked a treat. I really don’t think we’ve missed anything super important and we’ve gained so much just hanging out with each other. Christmas is for family after all! x

  • Jill

    My tip is not very practical but I know it works. Live in the Northern Hemisphere where the end of school year craziness does not coincide with Christmas. So much more civilised!

  • rebecca braddock

    My hot tip…Breathe!! Don’t sweat the small stuff.It always works in the end.

  • Perthite

    My hot tip, literally, is to get on a plane to Bali on Monday 16 December for 10 days of lying by the pool. It’s my first Christmas without my extended family, but boy am I thrilled to be avoiding the pre-Christmas madness! My oldest children will be with their dad, my five year old ‘baby’ with my husband and I – also a first. But heck they’re mid-teens and good heartedly laugh at my stress over not being together for ‘one day’.

  • 26 Years & Counting

    My hot tip is get time off work!! Sadly the only days I have off are weekends and public holidays.

  • Dianne

    My “hot” tip to de-stress this Christmas is ‘hot yoga’ classes during my break from work… I think I will need a good quality deodorant to see me through… I’ve never done it before, wish me luck!

  • bassplayer23

    Take a breathe, remind yourself and kids that Christmas is about family, love and giving not receiving. Bake and make presents instead of spending heaps on packaging and over priced plastic. Offer to babysit, help with gardening or sewing/ironing etc as a barter system or exchange skills instead of gifts.

  • Emily Grace

    Do some Christmas baking just for you and that one friend you won’t see on the big day. Whether it’s something traditional like rum balls or gingerbread men, or something different like Chai muffins or Turkish Delight, put on your cutest apron, plug in your mixer and whip up a treat for you to sit down with over a cup of tea (or wine!). Bottoms up

  • sharynclark

    Try and schedule in a massage a few days prior to Christmas Day. Not only will it give you time out from rushing around trying to get everything done, but it will give you that me time you deserve (after all you have been doing everything for others) to totally relax. If you have a good massage therapist, you will feel the effects for several days afterwards. And also remember those less fortunate and drop off a couple of gifts at the K Mart Wishing Tree or another charity. Believe me, it is one of the best things about gift giving. And after all of that, enjoy the day with your loved ones.

  • http://soniastyling.com/ Sonia

    The good old fashioned To Do List.
    Write down everything – the gifts you need to buy, cards you need to write, food that needs to be bought, drinks that need to be purchased, jobs that need to be done…and then delegate! Share the load (and the list) so that you can still enjoy yourself, even if it is the silly season.

  • http://soniastyling.com/ Sonia

    The good old fashioned To Do List.
    Write down everything – the gifts you need to buy, cards you need to write, food that needs to be bought, drinks that need to be purchased, jobs that need to be done…and then delegate! Share the load (and the list) so that you can still enjoy yourself, even if it is the silly season.

  • Nic

    I always have a huge wishlist of things to be done by Christmas, but life usually pokes its nose in somewhere, and in the past I’ve spent many very late nights trying to complete everything. I’ve learnt to let some things go – the world won’t spin off its axis, and probably no one else will notice anyway. The most important thing is spending time with family and friends. xx

  • Nic

    I always have a huge wishlist of things to be done by Christmas, but life usually pokes its nose in somewhere, and in the past I’ve spent many very late nights trying to complete everything. I’ve learnt to let some things go – the world won’t spin off its axis, and probably no one else will notice anyway. The most important thing is spending time with family and friends. xx

  • Nic

    I always have a huge wishlist of things to be done by Christmas, but life usually pokes its nose in somewhere, and in the past I’ve spent many very late nights trying to complete everything. I’ve learnt to let some things go – the world won’t spin off its axis, and probably no one else will notice anyway. The most important thing is spending time with family and friends. xx

  • Donna Allen

    Be organised and deligate jobs for everyone to help out. You dont have too do it all yourself!!

  • Donna Allen

    Be organised and deligate jobs for everyone to help out. You dont have too do it all yourself!!

  • Alex

    I always attempt to set aside a lunch or dinner on the 22nd, 23rd or 24th with my husband, just us. It’s just a habitual little tradition, when I was growing up my parents always did it, we went to our street’s Christmas party on Christmas Eve but we were always home by about 7. We’d have the traditional Christmas Eve dinner – egg in a cup. Then we laid out the carrot and water for the reindeers and the cookies and milk for Santa before bed. My Dad used to go to the effort of banging the broom on the upstairs floor when he knew we were awake downstairs and would think it was the reindeers.

    I don’t know if it’s genuinely a tip for a stress-free Christmas but my adult take on that moment is because Christmas Eve was always the best part of my Christmas. We have a huge family so after the presents in the morning my Mum would spend Christmas Day in the kitchen. Other than that I just lay low and always show up everywhere with a bottle of champagne – there is little else in this world that can be relied on so heavily to bring a smile to the host’s face.

  • Kelly

    “We need *something* by Christmas grates on my nerves. 365 days a year people!! I think the best thing we ever did to alleviate Christmas stress was organise a regular Christmas party at our place on a set date each year. That way we catch up with everyone at once. We put everything on (food & drinks) so I don’t feel the need to buy presents for people outside my immediate family & dearest friends and it means I am only eating and drinking too much once as opposed to every weekend. There is a bit of work in setting it up but it is only one day (instead of 5 different days for 5 different groups) and we are quite practiced at it now!

  • Narelle Rock

    Do what is right for yourself and your family at Christmas time, stay home, don’t travel from house to house with the kids, if people really want to see you they will come to your place. Make a simple dinner or lunch, roast always goes down a treat!

  • Maddi

    For me, i think it is way easier to get my presents wrapped for me. I’m shocking at wrapping even the most simple shaped gifts, so those little stands which some charities or shops set up are my absolute LIFESAVER. Plus, everyone gets pretty presents #win

  • Tracey Williamson

    I take a walk around the childrens hospital and realise I don’t have anything that bad to stress about always try and see the big picture and life really can be good

  • Juanita Thorn

    A trick I learnt to calm down….draw a black spot on your hand, and whenever you look at it practice your breathing exercises; in for 2, out for 2 and hold for 2 – do this for a minute…it’s amazing how calming this can be.

  • chrisatpb

    I was remiss in my post by not mentioning my son’s contribution – he does the essential Dan Murphy run!

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Mine is to take time for yourself ,even if it is only 10minutes at a time,meditate I use smiling mind or anxiety free Apps on my phone or read a book .I also find at this time of the year i get super tired so i make sure i eat very clean and have a couple of fruit smoothies a day so my fruit and veggie intake is good,I bought a Mix and Go machine by George Foreman and i can’t reccommend it highly enough and a watermelon and strawberry smoothie with coconut water is just the thing on a Hot day!

  • chrisatpb

    Thank goodness for the internet! I rarely go to the shops – for about 6 yrs I have done all my Christmas shopping online. – including food. Only venture out for the seafood and fruit n veg. Starting in November i make a list allocating myself a couple of manageable tasks for each weekend. And now my daughters are adults running their own households, we have a “committee” meeting a few weeks out to plan menus and divide up the tasks. In this week’s grocery order (online, of course) will be some Nivea stress protect!

  • Petra

    My stress-free tip for Christmas is to tell, or have someone in your family tell, a super funny joke every single day :-)

  • Sharon Johnson

    Arm yourself with a few extra bottles of wine for those unexpected guests who may drop by with a thoughtful gift. Fill your pantry with nibblies or freezer with a fuss free delicious meal to welcome them so your not caught out. Have at arms reach your Nivea stress protect for when things heat up and you need an extra boost to feel Beautiful.

  • The Plumbette

    I was going to write a similar post but how to survive Christmas with the in-laws. For me, a stress free Christmas comes from being organized. All the presents have been purchased and hidden away during the year. I love your idea of wrapping as gifts arrive but I also like hitting it at once so you don’t have to get all the supplies out every time you have to wrap a gift. The deodorant sounds great and good to know it works. :)